On February 28, 1962, The Dick Van Dyke Show aired “The Twizzle.” Breaking from the formulaic, joke-laden strategy that brought this show so much success, this anomaly featured multiple dance numbers and solo-musical features- more like a variety show than a sitcom.
In what seemed like an attempt to identify itself with the “dance crazes” that were sweeping the nation at the time, the show created its own. The episode follows the plight of a man, Randy Twizzle (aka Randolph Eisenbower), who unintentionally creates a new dance craze and the resulting fad is then exploited on the fictional “Alan Brady Show.” Conflict arises when Eisenbower reveals his dream of being a baritone singer, singing ballads and show-tunes. He refuses to perform his one-hit wonder, unless he can also perform an additional song that’s truer to his passions.
By the end of the episode, a new fad arrives and “The Twizzle” is on its way out, but Eisenbower is suggested to have endured.
There are two layers to this episode that tell the same cautionary tale.
- Stay true to your core-brand identity.
- Gimmicks aimed at building traffic can drive a spike in numbers, but result in lousy conversion rates when the experience is disingenuous.
- Don’t jump on bandwagons. Know your audience. Why would you want to waste resources bringing in disinterested, unloyal traffic? Traffic is a cost.
- And lastly, if you find yourself in a viral situation: use it! Be a Randolph Eisenbower. Use existing leverage to clearly communicate what your brand is all about.
Be focused. Be intentional. That’s smarter marketing. Don’t “twizzle” it away.